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Jerusalem feels Gazan conflict; Kerry in Afghan elections; impending US-China standoff; taxi apps in London; tougher German-US relations

This week's round-up of commentary covers the effects of the Gaza conflict on Jerusalem, John Kerry's deft behind-the-scenes diplomacy during the Afghan elections, Asia's anticipation of rising conflict between US and China, a modern threat to London's historic cabs, and the foreboding future of German-American policy interaction.

Ammar Awad/Reuters
Palestinians pray as Israeli policemen stand guard (rear) during prayers on the second Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, Friday, July 11, 2014.

Haaretz / Jerusalem
Conflict is tearing Jerusalem apart

“My city is coming undone. Sometimes the ripping of Jerusalem is so loud you can hear it from blocks away. Sometimes you hear it in quiet conversations...,” writes Gershom Gorenberg about the effect of fighting between Israel and Gaza on Jerusalem. “You can rightly blame the [Hamas] kidnappers of [the Israeli teens] Yiftah, Shaar and Fraenkel, whose goal was to ignite escalation and who were all too successful. You can blame the angry [Israeli teen protest] on Jaffa Road. But their anger is given direction by well-dressed politicians.... The irony is that the politicians who speak in mythic phrases about a politically unified Jerusalem seem to know very little about the actual Jerusalem, messy and beautiful, where lives zigzag across the political fault line, and to care even less about how their words have helped tear it apart.”

Daily outlook Afghanistan / Kabul, Afghanistan
John Kerry saved Afghanistan from elections turmoil

“What John Kerry did at the backstage and how he could convince [Afghan presidential candidates] to work on deadlock breaking way has not been [revealed] fully. But the US sophisticated and senior US diplomat could be remembered as ‘saver’ of the country from political storm,” writes Masood Korosh about the controversy over the elections in Afghanistan. “He convinced both candidates to stay away from instigating the sentiments of civilians and pushing the country toward certain tragedy.... [Kabul] can sleep in no fear of firing rockets....”

The Straits Times / Singapore
Asia must prepare for US-China standoff

“It seems that a new Cold War between China and the United States is looming in the Pacific region...,” write coauthors Kai He and Huiyun Feng. “The United States launched a ‘pivot to Asia’, later termed ‘rebalancing’, to show its commitment and test China’s intentions. China tried to set a new status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea to demonstrate its own resolve in territorial disputes. Understandably both sides at the negotiation table intend to maximise their own interests.... The immediate concern for Asia is ...Washington’s return to a version of the 1969 Nixon Doctrine, in which the US supplies arms but not military forces to its allies. It is time for Asian countries to think about a regional solution for a post-American era.”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto
Taxi app shouldn’t replace iconic London taxi service

“If Uber has its way, iconic black cabs will not be crawling the streets of London much longer, and no amount of nostalgic reverie for halcyon days will prevent this dismal development...,” writes Andrew Lovesey in a debate about London’s black cab service versus the car service app Uber. “As we inevitably move toward a world in which there are fewer and fewer private automobiles, there need to be a range of alternatives for getting around, from efficient public mass transit to, at the higher end, quality cab services. London has set the world standard for that, and we all have an interest in ensuring not only that it survives, but that it is emulated elsewhere.”

Deutsche Welle / Berlin
German-American relations take turn for the worse

“The German-American partnership is a bond that’s tough to break. It has weathered numerous storms during the Cold War period and since, such as the split over the Iraq War. But, the ongoing crisis over US intelligence gathering and espionage in Germany and on Germans sparked by the [Edward] Snowden revelations one year ago has the potential to unravel the German-American partnership...,” writes Michael Knigge. “[T]he Obama administration’s stance can be summed up in three words: recalcitrance, callousness, ignorance.... Trust in the US by Germans ... is at a low point.... More worrisome, is the realistic possibility that post-Cold War generations of Germans grow up with a predominantly negative view of the US, fueled by the Iraq War and the NSA scandal. Washington should not let that happen.”

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